Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Friday, August 13, 2021

CMA to immediately investigate Covid PCR test providers

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has outlined three areas it will look at in response to concerns over quality, service and price of Covid testing.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid, wrote to the CMA a week ago to look closely at price and performance of Covid test providers.

The agency will explore whether there are structural problems in the market for PCR tests, which could impact the price or reliability of tests.

It will investigate if some PCR providers are breaching their obligations under consumer law and should be subject to enforcement action.

Thirdly, it will see if there are any immediate actions that the government could take in the meantime.

"It is essential that people paying for PCR tests are treated fairly, get what they pay for and that their rights are respected when things go wrong. We will not hesitate to take enforcement action if we find evidence that PCR providers are breaching consumer law," said George Lusty, CMA Senior Director for Consumer Protection.

"We are also working closely with DHSC to get the data we need to identify the cause of any wider problems in the PCR testing market, and to ground our advice on what action may be needed."

It is a 'particularly pressing issue' the CMA says, to enable people to enjoy holidays and to meet up with relatives overseas, without being gouged on price or short changed on quality..

Rory Boland, Which? Travel Editor, said:  "Not only do travellers face paying hundreds of pounds for tests in order to travel, but they are also let down too frequently by delayed or missing test results.

"It's encouraging to see the CMA recognise the urgency of this issue, although its review will come too late for those travelling over the summer holidays in the coming days and weeks. The government and regulator must now act swiftly to ensure private testing for travel is reliable, affordable and accessible."


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